Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hope Votes

The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” - Henry Kissinger

I’ve never been much of a risk-taker, but yesterday, with a single touch of my finger, I, a liberal Democrat, voted for Bobby Jindal, a conservative Republican, for governor of Louisiana. He won the election, and I’m counting on him not to let me down.

Though I definitely lean to the left of moderate, I’ve always tried to vote for the candidate, not the party. This isn’t the first time I’ve crossed party lines, but it’s the scariest time. I’m sickened and saddened by what the current administration has done to our country, and I don’t want to be responsible for electing someone who might perpetuate more of the same.

I knew even as I pushed that button yesterday that I disagreed strongly with Jindal’s positions on several political issues, but I don’t think those issues are of immediate concern, either to me or to the candidate. I voted for him because he, among all the candidates, is the one who gave me hope.

Someone said once that the problem with Louisiana is that there’s such a high level of satisfaction with the lifestyle here that many people never leave, and that people who never go anywhere else can’t imagine that things could be any better. I think that’s true. The flip side of that problem is that many of our college-educated people do leave. There aren’t enough jobs here for highly educated people, and without an educated work force, we can't attract the kind of businesses that will boost our economy.

Smart isn’t everything, but I want a leader who is smart. Bobby Jindal is. I want a leader who is concerned about all the people, not just those with money enough to make campaign contributions, and I think this man cares. I want a leader who looks forward, not back, and I believe this governor-elect is focused on raising our state from its standard position near the bottom of the “best” lists. I want a leader who is a doer, not just a “decider.” When I watched TV as Hurricane Katrina turned South Louisiana into a high-water Hell, I saw Bobby Jindal getting things done while other politicians stood around waiting for direction.

I’ve often pondered the irony that for all my liberal leanings and progressive, independent thinking, I ended up plopped down in the middle of the land of the good ol’ boys, destined to feel like an outsider even after 29 years, and still, for the most part, to feel content. Unfortunately, the discontented part of me has grown in the past few years. It’s grown in direct proportion to the bungling, on every level from local to national, of those we’ve elected to look out for us.

I made a huge leap of faith when I pushed that button yesterday, and I pray to God I didn’t make a mistake. If time proves that my faith wasn’t justified, I hope you’ll all remind me of that–-mercilessly--before the next major election. In the meantime, I’d like to read your thoughts and comments (but not political arguments; save those for your own blog) about what you look for in a leader.

15 comments:

  1. I want a candidate with a clear strategy for handling an alien invasion.

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  2. Yajeev, considering all the candidates we've had in the past 20 years, I suggest you start a grass-roots movement for Ross Perot. He could be your man.

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  3. I'm with Yajeev. I'm so jaded. They all lie; they all cater to big business. I haven't felt hopeful at the polls since 1984... Hope would be good.

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  4. I just read about Jindal's win in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette this morning. And now I read again about him here. I will hope, with you, Velvet, that he brings progressive and humane leadership to your state.

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  5. Creekhiker, I'm mostly hopeful that a brighter, younger man will realize he has an opportunity to build a legacy -- as opposed to the good ol' boys who just want to maintain the status quo long enough to get their four-year piece of the pie.

    Annie, we haven't always had the best candidates to choose from, so I'm hoping Jindal will prove to be cut from a different cloth. It hasn't been that many years since we had a run-off election between an incumbent governor who had been indicted on federal charges (Edwin Edwards, currently in prison) and a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan (David Duke). There were bumper stickers at the time that read, "Vote for the crook, it's important."

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  6. Velvet, every vote casted is a leap of faith. Not one of us know for sure how things will play out, but as always, time will tell.
    What do I look for in a leader?
    Strength and integrity.
    The one's that get my vote share very similar values to mine. Reason being, as we are ALL human, we make daily decisions based on our value system, why would an elected offical be any different?
    I believe your single vote was a wise choice for your state ;)

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  7. Velvet...everyone is entitled to one mistake...oh, you just made yours when you thought this Republican was the answer to your problems.

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  8. Maxngabbie, I have some ideological differences with this governor-elect, to the point that if he had been a supreme court justice nominee, I would have opposed his appointment. Our state, in it's present state, can't afford the luxury of choosing sides and campaigning on social issues, and I do believe Jindal is capable of putting those issues aside and taking care of business. We need somebody to help us pull ourselves out of this mire.

    Sister-Three, if all we're entitled to is one mistake, I'm seriously S.O.L. I've made way more than that already.

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  9. Velvet...I hope you know the sisters have weird humor. I read about your guy in the paper yesterday. i hope he does as he intends. I think lots of time the new guy intends to do right, but with all the corruption where he is going...sometimes he just 'steps in it and does not even mean to'.

    The mayor of our town is my good friend...and a black man. I tell him to watch his step and watch all those who try to get him to do the 'wrong thing'. He has told me that daily he has to resist those who want to lead him into a path of unrighteousness.

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  10. all I ask for in a leader is that he or she doesn't do any more damage and actually makes an effort at improving things. But I'm aware that the people in the highest positions are often slapped down by the representatives, who have their own agendas.

    Last Sunday I watched Masterpiece Theatre on PBS, there's a new series just started about a British female supermarket manager who becomes Prime Minister. She's full of idealism and honestly thinks she can make a change for the better. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out but I don't expect to see a happy ending.

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  11. Sister-Three, yeah, I know you sisters are weird. That's what I like about you.;)

    I think Jindal's age is an advantage, in that he may not yet have learned not to rock the boat. Our boat needs some serious rockin'.

    Janet, a leader who "doesn't do any more damage" sounds like a great start, but I won't be satisfied until there's someone in office who can repair some of the recent damage and show us some progress. I can dream, can't I?

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  12. I only wish we had someone here in the UK who could give this country a glimmer of hope. We seem to be going backwardwards, foul-up after foul-up its just ludicrous.

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  13. Sandy, I know it shouldn't, but it DOES make me feel better to know that the U.S. isn't the only country suffering from leadership problems. Thanks for letting us know we're not alone.

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  14. That is exactly what I said: Jindal gives me hope. It will be a hard road, but at least someone is willing to start, step-by-step, on the journey. He's smart and he's sincere; I'm hoping for the best.

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  15. Jenclair, thanks for visiting. Since Jindal won without a run-off, I'm thinking there were a lot of hopeful Louisiana folks who voted last Saturday. Let's cross our fingers.

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